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Like SXSW (and the album) Stetston starts with “Awake on Foreign Shores” and “Judges.” What I love about this recording is that after Stetson finishes “Judges” a guy in the audience shouts (in a voice of total amazement) “That shit was off the ! It’s not even worth me going into how amazing Steston is once again (check previous posts for that), but man, just look at the size of that horn he’s playing (seriously, click on the link to see it bigger).Stetson plays a few more songs from like “The Righteous Wrath of an Honorable Man” (which is outstanding) and “A Dream of Water” (which works without Laurie Anderson, although he does say he’s sorry she’s not there).Again, the parallels are only from my reading and have nothing to do with Díaz himself. Oscar is the youngest member of the family and the person whom the narrator knows best. And although the book is ostensibly about Oscar, it is about much more.

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It also introduces us to the (real) figure of Rafael Trujillo (more on him later) the dictator of the DR.

Beli’s family was destroyed by Trujillo–and Beli, who was just a baby, was sent to various adoptive families before finally ending up with La Inca, who was her aunt. And she took him…assuming that they would be married right after school. And when they were caught, she was kicked out of school. The Trujillo clan looks to get rid of her, in a particularly brutal way (in a way that echoes throughout the story and is really wonderful–brutal, but wonderful).

And so this book took considerably longer than I intended.

However, once I set aside some time to read it, I flew through the book.

Oscar’s only salvation was fiction–both reading it and writing it.